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Ray Parlour
"It's great that we've still got two English clubs in the competition"
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Thursday, 23 March, 2000, 21:52 GMT
Parlour rampant as Arsenal triumph

It was Parlour's first hat-trick for Arsenal
Werder Bremen 2-4 Arsenal
Aggregate: 2-6

Ray Parlour scored a hat-trick against Werder Bremen as Arsenal romped into the semi-finals of the Uefa Cup.

The Gunners completely outclassed their German opposition in a match they were forced to finish with ten men after the seemingly harsh sending off of Thierry Henry.

Match facts
8 mins: Parlour scores his first
25 mins: Parlour scores his second
41 mins: Bode pulls a goal back for Bremen
59 mins: Parlour sets up Henry for Arsenal's third
60 mins: : Bogdanovic makes it 3-2 on the night
63 mins: Henry is dismissed
70 mins: Parlour secures his hat-trick
Manager Arsene Wenger was also apparently ordered from the pitch after he protested too vehemently over the sending off.

Leading 2-0 from the first leg Arsenal smashed in another four in Germany.

Parlour not only scored his first goals of the season and his first hat-trick in an Arsenal shirt, but set up a goal for Henry as he single-handedly snuffed out the German hopes.

Werder Bremen had overcome a 3-0 deficit in a duel against Lyon in an earlier round.

But any pre-match speculation they may be able to repeat the feat against Arsenal was effectively scotched as early as the eighth minute when Parlour stamped his authority on the game.

Cutting inside from the right flank, Parlour appeared to have few options as he looked around for his fellow Gunners.

Arsenal were never troubled
But the red-headed midfielder took matters into his own hands as he swiped the outside of his right foot at the ball and watched it swerve into the net.

Television replays later measured his standing shot at 68 mph and the pace certainly deceived German keeper Rost.

Until then the German crowd has sensed an unlikely turnover as first Ailton and then Andreas Herzog from a free-kick threatened Alex Manninger's goal.

Indeed things might have been different had the referee not ruled out a 22nd minute equaliser by top-scorer Marco Bode for offside.

Instead three minutes later Parlour erased any doubt his early strike may have been a rare fluke when he gave Arsenal a 4-0 aggregate lead.

Picking the ball up on the edge of the box, once again with few options, Parlour wriggled through a clutch of Bremen defenders before tickling the ball skillfully inside the left-hand post.

Bremen were outclassed in every department
The Germans, now needing another five goals to overcome the Gunners, did not lose heart and were rewarded for their spirit four minutes before the interval when Bode pulled one back.

But by then any resistance was token.

Parlour added to his first-half heroics by setting up a goal for Henry fourteen minutes after the restart.

Picking the ball up in acres of space on right, Parlour drove goalwards and then unselfishly cut the ball back for the Frenchman to side-foot home.

Arsenal, sensing their semi-final place was secure, relaxed and had themselves to blame as Bremen hit back soon as Bogdanovic arrived late in the box to volley home.

Bremen's Ailton was as ineffectual as he was at Highbury
Despite conceding two goals, Arsenal appeared to be cruising to the semi-finals until Danish referee Kim Nielsen - famous for sending off England's David Beckham in the World Cup - opted to flash the red card at Henry for a late tackle.

But Arsenal simply went on to strip the German weaknesses bare still further.

They tore Bremen apart on several occasions until Parlour slid in another goal to record his first hat-trick in a red and white shirt.

The remaining 20 minutes were merely academic, although it remains to be seen what punishment awaits Henry and Wenger.


Werder Bremen: Rost, Eilts, Baumann, Trares, Pizarro, Wiedener, Bode, Herzog, Frings, Ailton, Barten. Subs: Flock, Maximow, Bogdanovic, Dabrowski, Tjikuzu, Schierenbeck, Brasas.

Arsenal: Manninger, Dixon, Luzhny, Adams, Silvinho, Parlour, Vieira, Grimandi, Ljungberg, Kanu, Henry. Subs: Winterburn, Keown, Suker, Overmars, Petit, Malz, Lukic.

Referee: K Nielsen (Denmark)

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See also:

22 Mar 00 | Champions League
O'Leary fearful of Gunners showdown
16 Mar 00 | Football
Gunners blaze into Bremen
15 Mar 00 | Football
Adams fit for Uefa clash
09 Mar 00 | Football
Arsenal stroll into quarters
Links to other Football stories are at the foot of the page.